First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
News Story
 
N.Y. village can't block Jewish school's expansion, 2nd Circuit says

By The Associated Press,
First Amendment Center Online staff
10.18.07

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court has upheld a controversial federal religious land-use law, agreeing that the Village of Mamaroneck’s zoning laws cannot be used to block a Jewish school’s new 44,000-square-foot building.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling yesterday in Westchester Day School v. Mamaroneck, upheld a lower court decision. U.S. District Judge William Conner had ruled that Mamaroneck violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act by denying Westchester Day School a permit to expand its facilities.

The 400-student school had challenged the village’s zoning decision in a lawsuit.

In its appeal to the 2nd Circuit, the village argued that RLUIPA violates the First Amendment’s establishment clause. A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit, however, rejected this argument.

“RLUIPA’s land use provisions plainly have a secular purpose … : to lift government-created burdens on private religious exercise,” the panel said. “Similarly, the principal or primary effect of RLUIPA’s land use provisions neither advances nor inhibits religion.”

The panel also found that the law’s “land use provisions do not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.”

“RLUIPA cannot be said to advance religion simply by requiring that states not discriminate against or among religious institutions,” the court said.

Lawyers in the case have said it’s likely to reach the Supreme Court.


Previous
Ruling holds zoning laws can't prevent yeshiva addition
But federal judge, acknowledging different interpretations of RLUIPA, says case involving New York village should go to 2nd Circuit. 03.06.06

Related

Feds accuse N.Y. village of violating RLUIPA

U.S. government files lawsuit, saying Suffern officials violated land-use law by denying zoning variance for residence used by Orthodox Jews visiting local hospital on Sabbath. 10.01.06

Buddhists lose bid to build temple in Conn.
State high court rejects claim that town of Newtown violated federal religious-freedom law when it denied permit for building. 01.31.08

Ariz. church sues city after zoning permit denied
Lawsuit: Yuma is discriminating by enforcing zoning code that allows membership groups, theaters to locate in historic district while excluding religious groups. 06.09.08

Zoning religion: the battle over RLUIPA
By James D. McWilliams Law guarding religious buildings rarely overruled, but application may be limited. 08.09.05

RLUIPA, religious buildings & zoning

News summary page
View the latest news stories throughout the First Amendment Center Online.

print this   Print


Last system update: Sunday, January 25, 2009 | 06:51:18
 SEARCH  MORE
About this site
About the First Amendment
About the First Amendment Center
Video/RSS/podcasts
First Amendment programs
State of the First Amendment
reports

First Reports
Supreme Court
Experts
Columnists
First Amendment publications
First Amendment Center history
Glossary
Freedom Sings™
Events
First Amendment
Schools

Congressional Research Service reports
Guest editorials
FOI material
The First Amendment
Library

Lesson plans
freedomforum.org
Newseum
Contact us
Privacy statement
Related links